Miami Heat: The NBA's Version of a Hated Political Incumbent
It's campaign season, and in all likelihood you have been treated to a barrage of ads championing one candidate over another.
"Politian X will clean up the corruption in Washington, put the government back on the side of the people and get the economy moving again. Meanwhile, his opponent, senator Y, will raise your taxes, kill you grandma, steal your dog and leave you without a means of supporting your family. So vote for X."
Generally, we turn to our 24-hour political news networks to filter the hyperbole from the factually substantial claims that politicians make about their opponents, but that is not always the case as the same politician that called his opponent "a terrorist's best friend" on the stump, somehow is thrown just softball questions when he sits on news shows whose hosts share his core beliefs.
I thought about this process as I watched the Miami Heat stumble into the regular season on Tuesday against the Celtics, knowing that some of those "sports analysts" that throw "softball questions" about the abilities of other teams will suddenly bring out the scrutiny when assessing the Heat.
"Does this game prove that Wade and James can't play together?" No, it proves that if you have had little time to prepare and hardly any time to gel in preseason and are taking on the defending Eastern Conference Champs on the road, you will lose.
"LeBron James had 9 turnovers in the last game, and he shot terribly, does that mean he's not going to work out in Miami?" Well, Kevin Durant had 30 points in his first game which was mentioned by the sportswriters while his 6 turnovers, 9-24 shooting, and mere 3 assists went unmentioned.
Nevertheless, the flood of "anti-Heat ads," um, "serious sports writing" began to reign down and it turned what could be a legitimate debate about the strengths and weakness of the Heat and the 29 other teams in the league into a "let's look for anything to say bad about the Heat because we don't like them."
This is not sports writing, it more like political propaganda.
"In Miami, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh resided over the largest Hate increase in Miami history, while Pat Riley and his shady dealings signed all three as free agents in the off-season showing up the owner of your favorite team. These men will stop at nothing for power and to push their radical, win-at-all-costs agenda down the rest of the leagues throat."
Personally, I can accept an article critical of the Heat. I can even accept a couple of "Reason's They Won't Even Make the Eastern Conference Finals," pieces.
But it ceases to be serious writing when it is so closed-minded to the thought of Heat success. How can you seriously say you're assessing a teams chances when 95% is the story is pointing out flaws?
Despite being the 2-time NBA Champs, the Lakers have flaws and there are circumstances that could derail the Lakers this year (age, injury, complacency, the Spurs are not finished yet, the Trailblazers have improved, the Thunder have improved, Kobe's knee gets worst, Matt Barnes is a bust, Theo Ratliff is a bust, Odom is inconsistent one too many times), but these things get overlooked because they don't fit the storyline of impending Heat failure.
It's just like watching a political show that is clearly against a certain candidate even though is suggests to its viewers that it is totally "fact based and non-partisan." Then it proceeds to show clips, out of context, giving the viewer the impression that the politician is just corrupt and criminally unqualified to serve office. But there could be a reasonable explanation for the footage in question. This explanation will go unshared by the reporter.
Look, I don't presume to know what will happen with the Miami Heat this year.
They may well lose in the conference finals this year or sooner. But I know they have a chance. They have a chance because they have an excellent core young group of players and supporting cast that can play a significant role.
My thoughts are that if the writers who insists on pointing out the flaws of the Heat are maybe like those politicians looking to trash their opponents so we won't see the obvious: The opponent really does have a solid record, the opponent really does have a chance to win, the opponent is not really a "terrorists sympathizer."
I'm sure some will respond that the Heat "won't win and so they're just messengers of the truth" (which is just what those politicians trashing their opponents would say as well).
But answer me this: If you really did believe the Heat had no chance to win, would you really be running so many attack ads against them?
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